For the first time since 1970, BYU has lost five consecutive games and is off to one of its worst starts in program history.
Much of the blame falls on the Cougar offense which ranks at the bottom of nearly every offensive statistical category. So far this season, the offense has managed to put up just 11.7 points per game and ranks 127th out of 129 teams.
Sadly, when the opposing teams score 14 points and fans realize the game is already over with how bad BYU’s offense has been, you know it’s time for a change.
Enter Joe Critchlow.
After coming off of an LDS mission this past summer, the freshman quarterback was planning on redshirting this year so he could learn the offense and get back into game form. However, with just over two minutes left in Friday night’s game against Boise State, and with the Cougars trailing 24-7 and the game all but over, the BYU coaching staff decided to put Critchlow in for several worthless plays.
With starting quarterback Tanner Mangum still not close to being healthy and with backup Beau Hoge still out with an undisclosed injury, the time is now to start Critchlow and for BYU coaching staff not to look back.
At 1-5, BYU won’t finished the season ranked even if they win their remaining seven regular-season games. The Cougars are certainly not going to the College Football Playoff or a big-time bowl game either.
With all of those goals out the window, the time is now to develop Critchlow who could possibly be the Cougars starting quarterback over the next 3 1/2 years.
While the back half of the schedule is a cake-walk compared to the first half of the schedule, Saturday’s game against SEC foe Mississippi State will be the perfect test to see how Critchlow handles the pressure of playing in a tough environment on the road.
The 6-foot-4 standout at Franklin High School in Franklin, Tennessee was a two-time all-district selection and was named to the all-region team as a senior. The gunslinger amassed 4,427 passing yards and 50 touchdowns during his high school career.
While Tanner Mangum was the co-MVP of the Elite 11 camp in 2011 along with Jameis Winston who went on to win the 2013 Heisman Trophy, the junior quarterback has been downright awful this year throwing just two touchdown passes and six interceptions with a 54% completion percentage. On top of his injured ankle among a number of other reasons, the time is now to start Critchlow and it needs to begin Saturday.
While coaches and fans may be reluctant about starting a fourth-string quarterback, they should realize that just this past week, Arizona backup quarterback Khalil Tate broke an FBS record when he rushed for 327 yards on just 14 carries as the Wildcats took down Colorado, 45-42, on the road. Iowa State’s backup quarterback Kyle Kempt, making his first career start, threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns as the Cyclones beat No. 3 Oklahoma on the road.
This shows what can happen when a new quarterback takes charge of a team and how teammates step up and rally behind a new face and I believe the same could happen with Critchlow. The Cougars are already three touchdown underdogs against Mississippi State so the worst that can happen is for BYU to lose a game that it’s already expected to lose. However, if Critchlow turns out to be a star, the Cougars will have found their future quarterback in a season that desperately needs some positive momentum to go its way.